Stefan Rothe, a Professional Cycling Coach, Discusses Training in the Off-Season

It’s really easy to get lost in the delicious food and hectic pace of the holidays. However, it’s never fun to get back to the cycling season and realizing you aren’t ready for the races you’d plan to sign up for. Stefan Rothe, a professional cycling coach and seasoned cycling competitor, was kind enough to join me to discuss what you can do to stay focused in the off-season:

If you’d like to get Stefan’s professional help to take your racing to the next level, you can find more information at his website. Stefan lives in Austin, Texas.

Garmin Forerunner 405 – Never Get Lost While Cycling or Running Again

Having GPS is great in your car, but what about on your bike or on a run ? There is nothing more miserable than getting lost when you are running out of steam, especially if you get stuck in some hills.

Garmin, the maker of some of the best GPS system in the market, has come up with the ForeRunner 405 GPS Heart Rate Monitor watch. Sure, you can get your speed, distance and heart rate, but you can also get your location on a map to make sure you find all the great streets for your ride.

The Garmin ForeRunner 405 also allows you to challenge a virtual partner to make the most out of every ride and will integrate wirelessly with your PC.

Sun & Ski is happy to offer the Garmin ForeRunner 405 to our customers. Be sure to purchase yours before stock runs out.

Check out the Tour de Donut Benefit for Make-a-Wish This Weekend

Shipley’s Donuts+Cycling 28 miles=Tour de Donut!

If your chances of winning the Tour de France waved bye bye long ago, do not fret. You still have a chance at winning the Tour de Donut. Sure it may not take you along the gorgeous French countryside, but you will be helping raise money for the Make-a-Wish Foundation, which will make you feel better than putting on some old yellow jersey.

How does Shipley’s tie into cycling, you ask? For each donut you eat, you get seconds taken off your time. The trick is to not eat so many donuts that you can’t finish.

Here are the details:
THE WHAT: Sun and Ski Sports Tour de Donut
THE WHERE: The race begins at the Katy Mills Mall. You can find the route here.
THE WHEN: Sunday, November 2 at 8:00 am

There is also a 55 mile ride that will take place that is a recommended ride for preparing for the MS 150.

Find more registration info here, and please call Carl Foy with any questions at 281 340 5000 x145.

Be Ready for the Cycling Season by Preparing in the Off Season

Whether you’ve decided to enter the BP MS 150 for Team Sun & Ski or other races in your area, it’s easy to lose focus on your training during the winter months.  Stefan Rothe of Rothe Training in Austin, Texas offers the following tips in his blog to keep you focused so you start the cycling season right:

  1. You should review ’08 and see what you accomplished. That can be a number (i.e. your 40K Watts or time) or a placing (i.e. win at a specific race).
  2. You should know what you want to achieve in ’09. Specificity is key here, so the more in detail the better. I.e. raise LT Power by 20W; do a sub-56min 40KK; win a State Criterium Championship
  3. You need a plan on what to do in the next 3-4 months:
  • How long should I take off from riding? Or should I not?
  • How do I incorporate off-the-bike strength training with regular riding?
  • Will doing cyclocross races hurt me in my preparation for the next road season?
  • I like to run. What days of the week do should I do that?
  • Is intensity or volume more important in the month of October, November, and December?

The above figure shows an example of a monocyle as part of an Annual Training Plan. Note the phases of Transition, Preparation, and Competition and how volume and intensity varies. (from: Periodization: Theory and Methodology of Training. Tudor Bompa. Human Kinetcis Publishers. 1999)

This time of the year is also very good time to go and check your health by a health professional. A regular physical exam or a simple blood test at your doctor’s office could identify any small problems which you should know about before getting back into “training mode” again.

Getting a Threshold Test done is also highly recommended for this part of the season. You want to know where your performance is as of right now so you can train accordingly in the upcoming month. Knowing your threshold power or heart rate is crucial when following a structured training plan which is based on your individual training zones.

Want to make sure you are meeting your goals this off season instead of packing on the holiday pounds?  Track your calories, distance, heart rate and even distance and location with this awesome Garmin Forerunner 405 GPS Heart Rate Monitor.

Come out to “Rock the Cradle for Johnny Romano”

Sun and Ski was very dismayed when Johnny Romano, a local skater from Galveston, Texas lost his brave fight against leukemia.  Johnny was  very revered in the southeast Texas community for his skills as well as his generosity towards charities such as the Make a Wish Foundation.

To honor Johnny’s memory, Sun and Ski is sponsoring “Rock the Cradle for Johnny Romano”.  Help us rock the world’s biggest cradle and help raise money for the Romano family’s medical and now funeral expenses.

Here are the details:

Date and Time: November 9, 2008, noon-4 PM
Place: Lee and Joe Jamail Skate Park
Suggested Donation: $10 which will go to or a blood donation, which will occur onsite.

Please help us honor Johnny’s memory by coming out and supporting this great cause. If you can’t come out, consider donating money to the Romano family anyway at

A Checklist for Using Your Bike to Commute

Although gas prices are down somewhat, they are still a lot more than they used to be.  Since riding your bike is economical, good for the environment, and helps you lose weight, we are all about helping our customers use them.  Aside from the obvious, here’s what you need to make the economical switch to a bike:

The Absolute Necessities

1.) a Bike Lock.  It is very unwise to leave a bike unlocked for any period of time.  Even if you have your bike registered, most stolen bikes never come back.  A cable lock is the most economical choice as well as the easist to put on, but is also the easiest to cut.  A U-lock with a rectangular keyhole shape is the hardest to pick.  When you put your lock on, be sure to put it through both the tire and over the frame of the bike for maximum security.

2.) a Helmet.  A hardcore fall or a collision could leave you brain damaged or even dead.  A simple helmet is inexpensive and can make all the difference.  What makes one helmet different from another?  A basic helmet can get you covered, but the higher end helmets a.) come in different sizes, b.) are ergonomically shaped to provide less wind resistance and c.) will be more properly ventilated.

3.) Bike Lights.  Inevitably you will ride at night or in twilight.  In some states, it is mandatory to have a bike light in the front as well as the back of your bike.  Some lights are bigger and brighter than others, so consider this in your search.

4.) Bottle Cage and Water Bottle.  Your car needs fuel and so do you.  Getting dehydrated can leave you stranded somewhere and can make any ride a very unpleasant experience.

Other Helpful Accessories

1.) A Rear Frame Wrack.  If you are commuting with your bike, you’ll probably be carrying something.  A rear frame wrack will allow you to tie things to your bike, including a trunk.

2.) A Tailwind Trailer.  There’s no use in leaving the little ones at home.  Hook up your trailer to your bike and take the kids to the store, the park, or wherever you need to go.

If you’d like to calculate how many miles you’ve ridden and how much gas you’ve saved, get a trip computer.  You can also calculate all the calories you burn as you go. 😀

Are you a fan of cycling as a form of sustainable transportation?  Consider joining our Facebook group “Get Green, Get Fit, Get a Bike” for more cool updates.  Join NuRide to earn as you ride.  If you need a bike, visit one of our stores and you’ll be on your way in no time.

Ski Season is Here! Arapahoe Basin and Loveland are Now Open

Making Snow at A-Basin
Making Snow at A-Basin

Stop dreaming and start hitting the slopes.  Arapahoe Basin and Loveland officially opened today at 8:30 am MST.  Check out A-Basin’s mountain cam to check out the snow.

Now’s a great time to get great deals on tons of 2008 gear.  We are also getting a lot of our 2009 gear in, so be sure to check in before your next trip.

Sun and Ski Has the Sleepy Traveler Covered with the Burton Sleeper Hoodie

Sometimes you get sleepy when you travel.  And there usually isn’t a good napping place handy, especially if you are in the middle seat of a plane.  That’s why Burton created the Sleeper Hoodie!

Why is it a thousand times better to have a sleeper hoodie than a non-sleeper hoodie?  Well, when you get tired with a regular hoodie, you have to crawl up in a ball to sleep or pay for one of the expensive pillows the airlines charge for.  With the Sleeper Hoodie, you just blow up the inflatable pillow in the collar and pull down the light shield from the hood.  The Burton Sleeper Hoodie has integrated audio connections not to mention its nice and warm, so you’ll be well on your way to sweet dreams in no time. Travel will never be the same… just don’t forget the mix tape.

Buy your Burton sleeper hoodie while they last.

Quick Features:

  • Pit Zips
  • Sound Pocket with Headphone Cable Port
  • 80% Cotton / 20% Polyester
  • Allover Print
  • Cuff Thumb Holes
  • Custom Zipper Pull
  • Hidden Stash Pocket with Ear Plugs
  • Interior Jersey Lining
  • Removable, Inflatable Neck Pillow
  • Snap-Out Light Shield
  • Zippered, Internal Passport and Ticket Pocket

Help Us Support Cycling as Sustainable Transportation at Bike to Coworking Day

Traffic, smog, high gas prices, why bother?  Cycling is healthy and solves all three problems.  Join Sun and Ski at Conjunctured Coworking Space in Austin, Texas for Bike to Coworking Day.  Ride your bike or wear a green shirt and get one free day of coworking.  Here’s more info:

Date: Thursday, October 23, 2008, 9 am to 5 pm
Location: 1309 E 7th Street, Austin, TX 78702

Watch the crazy video I filmed with the guys from Conjunctured:

Be sure to follow us on Twitter for more updates.

Choosing a Pair of Goggles for Skiing and Snowboarding

You might feel cool skiing in sunglasses, but you could be endangering yourself. Because you sweat when you ski and this sweat can collect as condensation on your glasses, you can seriously impair your vision. Not a good thing when you are coasting down a mountain at high speeds with other people and trees around.

Fortunately, optics makers like Smith, Scott and Electric make goggles that both help prevent snow blindness and do not fog up like regular sunglasses. Here are factors to consider when picking a pair:

1.) Ventilation
It’s important that ski goggles allow the water vapor from your sweat to escape. You will often see vents on the front and top of your goggles to facilitate this. Smith also makes a ventilated helmet which further prevents this condensation from collecting in your goggles.

2.) Lens Shape
As light passes through another medium (like a lens), it refracts, causing distortion. Many ski goggle makers curve the glass slightly in a spherical fashion to prevent this distortion. These goggles will cost more, but will allow you to see more clearly on the slopes.

3.) Durability
Just like any pair of glasses you put on, ski goggles can scratch. If you ski or board a lot or are rough with your gear, look for a pair with hard coating.

4.) Helmet Compatibility
Do you like wearing your goggles outside of your helmet instead of inside? Some goggles are meant to fit around a helmet.

5.) Size
Spy offers goggles for people with smaller faces. Kids should also not wear goggles meant for adults as they will fit much too loosely. If you wear glasses, be sure your goggles fit over them. You also want to make sure the strap will fit comfortably on your head.

6.) Lens Color
All About Vision has this great guide for choosing a lens color:
* In low light and fog, yellow, gold and amber lenses filter out blue light, emphasizing shadows in the snow so you can see bumps better. They also work well in moderate light.
* Rose lenses are excellent on low-light gray days. And they’re fun to wear.
* In bright light, dark tints (especially green) will keep your eyes more comfortable.
* Polarized lenses block reflected glare off the horizontal plane and are great when it’s bright out. But they may not be ideal near the end of the day when long shadows appear in the snow, because they are usually made with a darker tint than most sun lenses.
* Mirror (or “flash”) coatings will block some, but not a lot of glare. They are usually more of a cosmetic than a practical feature.
* For night riding and skiing, use only clear lenses.

Remember, the reflection of the sun on the snow is fierce. Always make sure to protect your eyes from UV rays while you are on the slopes.